QUEEN'S COUNTY (LAOIS)

From Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland (1900)

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Description of Queen's County (Laois) | Queen's County (Laois) Map

NAME.—See Kings County.

SIZE AND POPULATION.—Length east and west, along the southern border, 34 miles; breadth north and south, 29 ½ miles; area 664 square miles; population 73,124.

SURFACE.—The northwest of the county is mountainous; the baronies of Cullenagh and Stradbally are hilly; as is also the barony of Slievemargy. All the rest of the county—the middle, northeast, and southwest—is level, some portions extremely flat.

MOUNTAINS AND HILLS.—The Slieve Bloom Mountains run on the borders of Kings County and Queens County, the northeast extremity of the range lying within Queens County. The following mountains stand on the boundary: Arderin (1,733), southwest of it Farbreague (1,411), and northeast Wolftrap (1,584).

The northeast end of the range is very broad, opening out like a fan. The eastern wing runs eastward from Wolftrap Mountain, consisting of a range of summits called the Cones, about 3 miles long; from the eastern end of which another range called the Ridge of Capard runs for 3 miles to the northeast. The Cones and the Ridge of Capard are really one curved ridge, which incloses on the south and southeast the fine valley of the Barrow. The chief summits of the Cones are Barna (1,661), and a mile east of it Baunreaghcong (1,677), this last marking the intersection of the Cones and the Ridge of Capard. One mile southwest of Baunreaghcong is Baunrush (1,357). At Clarnahinch Mountain, a mile northeast of Baunreaghcong, the Ridge of Capard rises to 1,590 feet; and the Ridge terminates at the northeast with Antonian (1,114).

Over the north side of the valley of the Barrow rises Knockanastumba (1,359); and west of this, and separated from it by another valley, that of the Gorragh River, is Knockachorra (1,533). South of the Ridge of Capard is Conlawn Hill (1,005), the southern outpost of that extremity of the Slieve Bloom Range. The hills running from southwest to northeast through the baronies of Cullenagh and Stradbally are often called the Slieve Lough Hills, and also the Dysart Hills. Between Abbeyleix and Timahoe the Cullenagh Hills rise to the height of 1,045 feet. At the southeast extremity of the county the Slievemargy Hills are a continuation of the Castlecomer Hills in Kilkenny. Among the Slievemargy Hills are elevations of 1,102, 1,098, 1,090, and 1,044 feet.

RIVERS.—At the northeast end of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, a number of glens open out to the northeast, all drained by rivers, of which those on the west side run to the basin of the Shannon, and those on the east to the basin of the Barrow. The Barrow itself rises in one of these—Glenbarrow—between the Ridge of Capard and Knockanastumba Mountain. It flows down the side of Barna, the highest of the Cones, and running first northward, it turns to the southeast, and first touches Kings County a mile and a half northeast of Mountmellick, from which point to Portarlington (6 miles) it forms the boundary between Kings County and Queens County. Crossing a corner of Queens County at Portarlington, it again forms the boundary of the same two counties for 2 ½ miles; again crosses a corner of Queens County, and then runs on the boundary of Queens County and Kildare for a mile; enters Kildare, and soon returns to the boundary, on which it runs for 8 miles; next enters Kildare; after which it forms for the last time the boundary of Queens County, first for 8 miles with Kildare (beginning a mile below Athy), and afterward for 6 miles with Carlow, when it finally leaves Queens County at Clogrennan.

The following are the Queens County tributaries of the Barrow. The Glenlahan River rises in Barna Mountain, and flowing in the same general direction as the Barrow, joins the latter 2 miles east of Clonaslee. The Owenass River, rising in Baunraghcong Mountain, flows through Mountmellick and joins the Barrow a mile below the town, being itself joined 2 miles above the town by the Blackwater from the south. The Triogue rises in Cullenagh Mountain, and flowing north through Maryborough, joins the Barrow a mile below the mouth of the Owenass. The Bauteogue flows northeast through Timahoe and Stradbally, and joins the Barrow 5 miles above Athy. The Douglas runs southeast, and falls into the Barrow 3 ½ miles above Carlow, having for tributary on the left bank the Fuer. At the southern extremity of the county, the Barrow receives the Fushoge River, flowing southward.

The Nore, coming from Tipperary, first touches Queens County near Monahincha Bog; next forms the boundary for two miles between Tipperary and Queens County; after which it makes a semicircular sweep of about 24 miles through Queen's County; and forming 2 miles of the boundary between Killkenny and Queens County, enters Kilkenny 2 miles above Ballyragget.

The Nore has several important tributaries, belonging wholly or partly to Queens County. First, on the left bank: the Delour, flowing southward from the southern slopes of the Cones, joins the Nore near the village of Coolrain; receiving as tributaries on its right bank, the Gorteen, the Killeen, and the Tonet, all flowing from Slieve Bloom. The Mountrath River, rising in Bawnrush Mountain, flows south through Mountrath, and joins the Nore 2 miles below the town. In the south, the Owenbeg, flowing southwest, enters Kilkenny, and taking now the name of the Owveg, forms the boundary for 3 miles between Queens County and Kilkenny, as far as its mouth. The Clogh River rises south of Lugacurren, and flowing southward, soon enters Kilkenny to form the Dinin.

On the right bank, the Nore receives the Gully River, which joins a mile north of Durrow. The Erkina draws its headwater from Tipperary; but it soon crosses the boundary into Queens County, and flowing east by Rathdowney and Durrow, joins the Barrow ¾ mile below the latter town. Two miles above Durrow the Erikana is joined by the Goul, which rises in Kilkenny.

The whole of the Queens County is drained into the Barrow and the Nore—-except the northwest corner. There the Clodiagh, rising in two glens separated by Knockachorra Mountain, flows nearly north, and ultimately joins the Brusna, in the Kings County, which flows to the (Shannon.

LAKES.—The Queens County lakes are small and unimportant. On the northwest boundary is Annaghmore Lake; and near the eastern boundary is the small lake of Kellyville; Emo Lakes lies beside Emo Castle, in the northeast; Grantstown Lake is three miles east of Rathdowney; and Ballyfin Lake lies beside Ballyfin House, 5 miles west of Maryborough.

TOWNS.—Maryborough (2,872), the assize town, is watered by the little river Triogue. In the north of the county, Mountmellick (3,126), an excellent business town, stands on the Owenass River, a mile from its junction with the Barrow; and on the Barrow itself, on the extreme north boundary, is Portarlington (2,357), of whom 842 are in that part of the town which stands in the Kings County. Toward the eastern part of the county on the Bauteogue, is Stradbally (1,254), a pretty town, partly surrounded by the beautiful demesne of Stradbally Hall.

On the Mountrath River, two miles from its junction with the Nore, is Mountrath (1,865); and half a mile from the Nore itself, in the west of the county is Borris-in-Ossory (518). In the south of the county, on the Erkina, three-quarters of a mile from its junction with the Nore, is Durrow (738); west from which is Rathdowney (1,109), standing less than half a mile from the Erkina River. Four miles northeast from Durrow is Ballinakill (630); three miles from which to the north-northwest is the pretty town of Abbeyleix (1,103), 1 ½ mile to the east of the Nore.

MINERALS.—The southeast of the county, including the Dysart and Slievemargy Hills, belongs to the great Leinster coal field; but no coal is raised in the district.

ANCIENT DIVISIONS AND DESIGNATIONS.—The ancient territory of Leix comprised all the southeast of Queens County—the whole county except the baronies of Tinnehinch and Portnahinch on the north, and the baronies of Upper Woods, Clandonagh, and Glarmallagh in the west. It was the inheritance of the O'Moores, whose chief lived on the Rock of Dunamase, three miles east of Maryborough—a rock rising precipitously from the plain, and still containing on its summit the ruins of O'Moore's Castle. The baronies of Portnahinch and Tinnahinch in the north formed part of the ancient Offaly. Portnahinch barony also formed part of the territory of Clanmaliere. The baronies of Upper Woods, Clandonagh, and Clarmallagh, formed part of the sub-kingdom of Ossory.

The Dun of Clopook, 3 miles south of Stradbally, is a high rock, with an immense ancient dun or fort occupying the whole extent of its summit. About a mile south from this is another great fort, that of Lugacurren. At the village of Timahoe, where an abbey was founded by St. Mochua in the 6th century, there is a very beautiful round tower, and also the fine ruin of an Elizabethan castle.

Description of Queen's County (Laois) | Queen's County (Laois) Map

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